Joe Masilotti:

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been craving a good (in-person) board game night with your friends. To scratch my itch, I’ve moved all my board game sessions online. I’ve been playing with a few different groups through a variety of websites and apps. Here’s a roundup of which board game platforms are the best and how to get started.

This guide is for anyone who wants to play board games online with your friends but isn’t sure where to start.

A nice overview of some of the options out there for playing board games online with your regular gaming group. We’ve been doing this in my regular group for a few weeks now.

In my experience, Zoom is the most consistent service and works on almost any device. One person in your group will need a paid subscription if you want to host an event longer than 40 minutes.

Discord recently added screen sharing and video calls to their apps. If your playgroup already has accounts then you can use that to chat during your games.

Zoom has been working well for our game nights. I’ve also been using it with other groups for various meetings. However, we’ve recently switched to using Discord for game nights. It’s easier to use push-to-talk and helps with some of the questionable audio setups we’ve encountered. Plus, eating and drinking at the game table is fairly normal, but when you have a mic picking up all the noises, it’s good to be muted by default at times.

Playing board games on Tabletop Simulator has a bit of a learning curve. Even moving your pieces around the board can take a little getting used to. Also very few rules, if any, are enforced by the game. You are in charge of making sure everyone is playing correctly.

Tabletop Simulator has been our primary mode of playing. The learning curve is real. And every game has a slightly different implementation, so at times you start all over with each game.

One thing Joe doesn’t mention is the user-generated games via the Steam Workshop. These are free, community created implementations of games. In some cases they are even endorsed by the original game creator’s. Also, it’s possible to find scripted versions that do enforce rules and aid in game setup/teardown.

We’ve played everything from Gloomhaven to Munchkin using Tabletop Simulator and it’s always been a fund experience.